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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Up and Down the 8 Mile Road,Words by Gus Kahn, Music by Walter Donaldson
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This sheet music's cover features a couple in a convertible. The woman has her head on the male driver's shoulder, and although you can't read the street sign, presumably they are riding on Eight Mile Road in Detroit. The lyrics make much of the privacy a car can bring a courting couple: "On the front porch, or the back porch, there's a crowd around. There's her Pa and Ma and sister Sue, In the parlor, or the kitchen, someone's always found. A car's the only place for two. Fords to the left, Fords to the right, But Ford's never tell, what they see every night..."
Physical Description
sheetmusic. Cover says Up And Down the Eight Mile Road. Words By Gus Kahn. Music by Walter Donaldson. Featured By Virginia Johnson. Irving Berlin, Inc. Music Publishers. 1607 Broadway New York. Made in USA. Order Code: "Eightmile."
Date Made:
Michigan, New York
NMAH, Archives Center
Transportation is such a part of people's daily lives that music reflects the changing transportation scene. Popular music began to incorporate storylines and imagery related to the automobile in the early 20th century. Many of the songs with lyrics make much of the freedom that the automobile could bring to courting couples. Some concentrated their attention on the potential for mechanical breakdowns. Other sheet music used automobile-related imagery on the copies sold to the public, even though the song inside the sheet music didn't have anything to do with automobiles

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